Meditation is a mental focus technique that aims to induce a deep state of relaxation. This is achieved via various methods including visualisation, chanting and controlled breathing – all of which reduce tension and help promote relaxation. Meditation also increases mental alertness and oxygen flow whilst decreasing blood pressure. With people increasingly aware of the potential side effects of prescription medication, alternative natural treatments are growing in popularity. Asthma has been shown to benefit from the controlled breathing that is advocated by meditation.
Asthma is a condition that effects the lungs, specifically the bronchi or tubes that help us extract oxygen from the air around us. These become constricted and cause tightness, wheezing and coughing – with an overriding sensation of asphyxiation. Though there is no known cause, it is thought that genetic factors predispose people to the condition. There are also known triggers for asthma, which may include:
Asthma is treated with medication that prevents the closure of the bronchi, and is typically administered in a vapour pump when a sufferer experiences an attack.
Meditation can be practised sitting or lying down, with comfort the most important factor to consider. Many meditation techniques are centred on the process of controlled breathing or breathwork, with inhalation via the nostrils and exhalation via the mouth. Other techniques to promote meditation involve focus on a single entity, thought or object; as well as the chanting of mantras. A common meditation pose involves the following simple steps:
Controlled breathing is central to the meditation process and has tangible benefits for the asthma sufferer. These exercises strengthen the lungs and may even prevent further attacks as they reduce the panic often experienced when the symptoms appear.
Meditation is ideally practised under the guidance of a trained meditation practitioner.
Find out about other effective natural asthma treatments.